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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  September 21, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT

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for sheena and all of us here on nbc 10, i'm jim rosenfield. the news continues with nbc nightly news. have a great evening, everybody. . tonight, breaking news. scott walker suddenly dropping out of the race as outsiders like ben carson surge in the polls. so carson faces controversy tonight, doubling down on his comment about muslims. >> and protecting the pope and unprecedented security prepsond eve of his historic visit. s.w.a.t. teams and snipers by the ready by land, sea and air. homes in ashes. crews go all out to attack a new fire in california after batting one of the most destructive in state history. nearly 1800 buildings up in flames. and deadly gamble. an alarming rise in crashes from drivers trying to beat trains at crossings. you wone believe how many people our cameras caught
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tempting fate. "nightly news" begins right now. good evening. we begin with a story that broke late today in the race for president as the crowded republican field suddenly just got smaller. this afternoon wisconsin governor scott walker announced he is throwing in the towel and dropping out of the race. the early exit by a man once seen as a formidable contender for the nomination, underscores once again how much of the course of this race has defied the pundits at every turn. peter alexander has late details. >> i will suspend my campaign immediately. >> this evening's announcement punctuated a dramatic and humiliated fall for scott walker who hoped his departure would stop donald trump. >> but popular wisconsin governor concluding he no
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longer has a path to the republican nomination. he led the polls in iowa. last week pinning his hopes on the neighboring state. >> we're putting all of our eggs in a basket for iowa. >> but he dropped in the recent national poll. the harally riding 47-year-old has been touted as a strong republican leader made for the national stage. with a personal biography and evangelical roots to make him a contender. but his campaign was hampered by missteps. claring his -- comparing it to islamic militants. >> and a wall near the border. and flip flopping on birth right citizenship. >> people are very, very impresses. >> scott walker is the first victim of donald trump. >> and while walker didn't endorse anyone there is indications who might benefit.
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marco rubio's campaign announced one of his top staffers in new hampshire joined their team. the other potential beneficiary, another conservative, ted cruz. peter. >> and well so-called establishment candidates have watched the poll numbers slide, out sliders like donald trump and kaef continues to surge ahead. for carson, much of the scrutiny focused on something he said about muslim yesterday on "meet the press." controversial remarks he is standing by today. hallie jackson has that story for us. >> he insists he will not apologize. >> i don't care what a person's religious background is, if, in fact, they believe in our constitution and our american values, i would support them. >> now calling on carson to drop out of the republican race after this response on "meet the press" about whether a president's
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faith should matter to voters if. >> if it fits within the realm of american and consistent with the constitution, i have no problem. >> so do you believe that islam is consistent with the constitution? >> no, i do not. i would not advocate that we put into ina muslim in charge of this nation. i wouldn't agree with that. >> i wouldn't advocate for -- i hate to say this -- i wouldn't advocate for hillary clinton to be president. does that make me anti-women? >> what he said, it was not right. it was wrong. and hurtful. and america is better than that. >> not long ago, some people thought that a catholic cannot be a president. and an african-american cannot be a president. they were wrong then and they are wrong now. >> reporter: the year before john f. kennedy was elected one in four americans wouldn't vote for a catholic to be president.
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nearly half said they wouldn't support a black candidate. 50 years later the pope set to meet with the first african-american president in the white house. today four in ten americans wouldn't support a muslim in the office. >> some people have said it already happened, frankly. but of course you wouldn't agree with that. >> reporter: the conversation about faith sparked by donald trump after he refused to denounce a man who called muslims a problem. >> i assumed he was talking about islamic. it's a problem. >> they have announced terror attacks carried out in the name of islam but they have not been able to shake the effects since 9/11. >> terrorism is not the true faith of islam. that is not what islam is all about. islam is peace. >> reporter: together trump and carson make up 30% to 40% of republican support. but carly fiorina is
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surging, appearing tonight on jimmy fallon. >> and putin is saying he wants to meet with trump when he comes here. >> the two of them have a lot in common, actually. >> as for carson, he tells me he would be happy to meet with the group calling on him to step down. a representative from the organization said carson is simply wrong, that islam is inconsistent with the constitution. >> hallie jackson, thank you. another major story tonight, in washington, d.c., new york and philadelphia, are bracing for what is being called an unprecedented security event as pope francis arrives in the u.s. tomorrow. he is currently taking part in a historic visit to cuba. our team is there and we'll show you that in a moment. but first nbc's stephanie gosk on the massive undertaking here in america to protect the pope. >> reporter: on the east river in new york city, the nypd shows off the newest boat. >> the cabin itself is bullet resistant. >> reporter: part of a
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security operation for the pope's five-day visit to the united states. three cities, washington, d.c., new york and philadelphia. 16 events and multiple processions open to the public. crowds at times over a million. >> the numbers coming to philadelphia could far exceed anything else that we've had in the city in modern times. >> reporter: each city will have thousands of law enforcement, snipers, s.w.a.t. team and helicopters. >> the entire fleet will be in the air and the ground goes into lockdown. the streets, the rivers and of course the air space as well. along with the pope, new york city is also hosting the u.n. general assembly. 170 world leaders. >> and on top of it all, by the way, the president is coming. >> the pope's visit is so large and complicat complicated, the secret service is in serve. among the challenges his desire to meet the faithful, people get excited and they want to touch and be around the pope but we have to be concerned that
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we can get out of me environment. >> reporter: in cuba, authorities arrested three political dissidents who tried to approach the pope. in the u.s., the big concern is small scale attacks inspired by isis. a pennsylvania bullet issued last week warned that terrorists may try to impersonate first responders but there is no specific mention of the papal visit. >> as we stand here on the bridge of the ship right now, there is no credible specific threat. >> reporter: officials say the key to success is the right balance between security and access. a family high wire act, but this time on a historic scale. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. >> the pope will arrive tomorrow. and on the heels of the huge reception in cuba. nbc's anne thompson has that story from santiago decuba. >> reporter: a hero's welcome for pope francis in his
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limousine. this is the cuba agricultural heart and today it is the spiritual center. >> i'm in love. i'm in love with this person. >> reporter: for many cubans, pope francis is a not just improving their soul but they are very lives. this woman came to thank the pope for his role in bringing cuba and the u.s. closer together. >> papal francisco is a great man. >> reporter: at mass, with cuba's president raul castro sitting nearby, the pope acknowledged the church's struggles here. less than 20 years ago, repressed by the government, catholic soup kitchens ran in secret. today they operate freely as change slowly comes to this island nation. though the vatican is perceived as the institution of no. this pope says yes. emphasizing the positive, embracing people and eager to be among hisflock. but some wonder if his criticism of
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capitalism means that could change on u.s. soil. >> for most of the country's history, u.s. catholics were chasing the american dream to try to be successful. so they hear the message differently when they have reached the top of the economic ladder. >> reporter: tomorrow the pope heads north where everyone is excited to see the mass who simply by being himself has changed the image of the catholic church. anne thompson, nbc news, cuba. back in this country, wildfires burning in california have reached historic proportions as crews are battling several blazes across the state with more homes going up in flames. total damage among the most devastating california has ever seen. miggalal mig air has the report. >> reporter: within hours of the first flames, ten homes were gone. the latest wildfire to explode in northern california, quickly forced thousands to evacuate just outside
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of monterey. >> it is kind of just just leave. you are not prepared for that. >> in napa county, few were prepared for this. >> i wish it was a dream. i really do. i don't want it to be like this. >> today the count, nearly 1800 structures in middletown, more than a thousand homes are gone. the third most destructive wildfire in california history. entire neighborhoods were incinerated here. fierce flames jumping from ridge to ridge. when the fire crowns in these trees, the immediate concern isn't necessarily the blaze, it is the embers. they can float in the air for miles. and they aren't just taking homes. now the death toll is on the rise. >> our biggest concern is because of the far behavior is so erratic, just making sure everybody is safe. >> reporter: in the last two weeks, at least six have been killed. unable to get out. tonight historic losses being measured in more ways than one, with this dire
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forecast. the worst may still be to come. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. now to judgment day for the man at the center of a deadly outbreak that triggered the largest food recalls in america. nine people were killed and hundreds more sickened by tainted peanut butter and today a judge threw the book at a former peanut butter executive. pete williams reports. >> reporter: the man behind one of the worst cases of food contamination ever told victims in a georgia courtroom that he is truly sorry for the 2009 outbreak of food poisoning that sickened more than 700 people and blamed for nine deaths. this family said their son chris was hospitalized. >> it was agonizing. it was scary. >> stewart parnell, former owner of the peanut corporation of america was convicted in the first criminal trial in a food
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poisoning case from shipping peanut butter they knew was contaminated. and they found a leaky roof and insects and rodents at the plant. today parnell told victims gathered for his sentencing, i think about you guys every day. jeff came from minnesota to describe how his 72-year-old mother, a cancer survivor, died after eating contaminated peanut butter. you took my mom, he told parnell. you kicked her right off the cliff. jacob hully was sickened for him by the food. >> i think it is okay for him to spend of the rest of his life in prison. later today he was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison, the harshest penalty ever in the case of food contamination. pete wimgs, nbc news, washington. still ahead, tonight on a collision course, drivers pressing their luck at
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rise with 269 motorists killed in 2014. and over 900 pedestrians killed or injured. a staggering statistic and nbc's tom costello went to see the problem first-hand. >> reporter: it happens once every three hours. >> there is an amtrak train that just went by us that we think has hit a car. >> reporter: last month, a 44-year-old florida man was killed when police say he drove around the crossing gates and into the path of an amtrak train. among the highest accident rates in the country, san diego. how often do you see somebody cutting right in front of you? >> it happens daily. >> daily? >> multiple times, every day. >> so we rode along with bnsf crews. >> he's going through -- one, two. >> as police went after drivers that rab the lights and went under the crossing arms and watch as we approach the intersection.
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12 seconds, one car and then another cuts in front of the train. a few minutes later it happens again. down on the street, four more dodge the gates with police following close behind. >> license and registration. >> a freight train traveling at 55 miles per hour can take the length of 18 football fields to stop. amazingly 25% of accidents occur when a vehicle hits the side of the train and very often the crew doesn't even feel it. >> engineer just plumly vividly remembers the first time his train hit a car full of people. >> someone decided to go around a gate one night, and drive head-on into my train. and i never will forget it. >> people died? >> yeah. >> on this day, officers wrote 172 tickets in just five hours. >> people are in such a hurry. >> reporter: pedestrians ticketed for ignoring the gates. the fine up to $450. but toerk in america the odds are someone
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but amid the outrage, a ray of hope. promise of a fresh start and a new life for the man and his son and their entire family. from spain, we get the story from nbc's jacob rasc rascon. >> they were welcomed like celebrities. >> i love you. i love my dream. i love it here. >> for this man and his 7-year-old son, no longer refugees. among the millions of syrians who fled the war, making a long and difficult journey to hungary and then this -- the indignity scene around the world. >> how did you feel once she did that. >> i was very, very angry, because my child is crying, crying. >> zaid tells me with a smile, if i ever see that woman again, i want to fight her. miguel, director of madrid soccer academy had a different idea. >> in syria, osama was
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a professional coach. so the soccer academy in spain offered him a job, no resume and no interview. the only thing he has to do is learn spanish. >> how is your spanish? >> spanish is -- >> lessons start this week. but when it comes to soccer, zaid is already fluent. he was even invited on to the field with worldwide soccer superstar cristiano ronaldo. the academy also gave the man an apartment and we were there when he learned the entire family, including his wife and children still in turkey, can apply for asylum in spain. >> thank you. very, very nice people here. very nice. i cannot -- that is proof. >> the father and son who became symbols of the humanitarian crisis promised a new life. jacob rascon, nbc
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news, madrid. a great out com to what was a horrible story. that will do it for us on this monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. >> viola davis makes history, tracy morgan's return and sofia makes wedding news. >> extra. >> the emmys right now. >> hot couples news. >> what about the wedding gown? >> um. >> steamy confessions. >> all the sudden i'm bent over.
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if i had a nickel every time that hand. >> the stars dripping in sweat. >> i wish there was a water fall. >> it is a thousand degrees out here like a wet t shirt contest. >> who literally fainted? how they kept tracy morgan's surprise appearance like a state secret. >> how to get away with an emmy. >> our backstage party with the winners. target trump. the red carpet divide over the donald. >> we're going to have trump as president. >> plus. >> boxers briefs. >> spanx or commando. >> the fashion fight to the funnish. >> the best dressed is. >> right now on. >> extra, extra. >> i'm amy shumer with mario pe

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